Back in August of this year, I decided to switch gears with this site and make it focused on two things that represent my passions: Christianity and politics. With the slant being very much to the right, I knew that there would have to be a left-leaning site that followed in order to keep the balance. That site turned out to be Gawker, a site that has been doing left-wing politics as a hobby for a while but that is now devoting all of their resources towards spreading a progressive agenda.
I’m being facetious, of course. We get tens of thousands of visitors per month while they get millions. No, they’re not countering my move or following our lead. In fact, they have no idea who we are. That’s okay. It makes for a self-satisfying headline.
Nevertheless, Gawker has decided to skip out on their original calling and shift to politics in an attempt to save a sinking ship. Their style of quick-post link-jacking “journalism” was doomed ever since Google rolled out their Panda algorithm which hurts sites that offer low-quality content. As page views went down, so did influence. As influence went down, so did much of their scooping ability. They made enemies and fresh stories were getting harder to come by as a result. This made for a reduction in advertising dollars which has precipitated this move.
Despite my annoyance about their origins and techniques, the shift itself is righteous. This is, after all, Presidential campaign season and if you’re going to latch your wagon onto something in order to save a high-cost online publication, it might as well be on the topic that has the best chance to keep on giving. Gawker will, of course, make their living off of low-quality link-jacking just as they always have. The only difference is that now they have a wider range of sources.
They no longer have to rely on relationships to get the scoop. They don’t need the scoop. As sites like WND on the right and Salon on the left have learned, you don’t have to put out the best investigative journalism to get page views in politics. You just have to put out crazy headlines with outrageously polarizing content.
Is it too little, too late? It certainly would have been nice if they’d made the move a few months earlier. We thought we were a little late by making the move in August instead of our original plan of May, but then again we don’t rely on page views. We don’t have a ton of money invested into the site which means we don’t have to generate a bunch of revenue.
We wish them luck despite the opposing political views. That’s the beauty of running a conservative site. You don’t necessarily need luck. Good content will suffice. Still, we’re hedging our bets by putting a conservative “watchdog” publication on their Kinja property to be able to keep tabs on them just in case they get too far out of line.